News / Asia

Obama to Promote US Interests at ASEAN Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama watches as Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toast, East Asia Summit Dinner, Phnom Penh, Nov. 19, 2012.U.S. President Barack Obama watches as Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toast, East Asia Summit Dinner, Phnom Penh, Nov. 19, 2012.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama watches as Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toast, East Asia Summit Dinner, Phnom Penh, Nov. 19, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama watches as Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toast, East Asia Summit Dinner, Phnom Penh, Nov. 19, 2012.
Irwin Loy
— U.S. President Barack Obama is using his first trip abroad since winning re-election to push for renewed U.S. interests on trade and economic development in Asia.

But some critics are urging the president to press Asian countries on human-rights abuses.

In Phnom Penh, where Obama arrived late Monday to meet with leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, demonstrators staged a rally urging the U.S. president to press the government to end land grabs, which rights groups say have affected tens of thousands of Cambodians during the past decade. 

ASEAN Member NationsASEAN Member Nations
x
ASEAN Member Nations
ASEAN Member Nations
Human rights activists voiced similar concerns regarding Obama's earlier stop in Rangoon. While Burma has undergone dramatic reforms in the past year, its government still faces serious criticism of its dealings with ethnic-minority groups and its handling of ongoing tensions in Rakhine state.
 
"I urge Obama to tell the Cambodian government to release all the land victims and all the activists," said activist Duong Kea, adding that the government has been criticized for jailing political opponents and continuing land evictions.
 
Prior to President Obama's trip, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon described the diplomatic objective a part of what the White House calls a “rebalancing” of strategic interests in the region.

“We aspire to see a region where the rise of new powers occurs peacefully, with the freedom to access the sea, air, space and cyberspace, empowers vibrant commerce," said Donilon. "Where multi-national forums help promote shared values, and where citizens increasingly have the ability to influence their governments, and universal human rights are upheld. That is the future we seek in partnership with our allies and friends.”
 
Obama will attend ASEAN meetings through Tuesday and is expected to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines, including a discussion with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
 
President Obama has become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Burma and Cambodia.
 
  • US President Barack Obama, right, waves as he embraces Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama watches as Aung San Suu Kyi center greets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Burma's President Thein Sein in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama is presented with flowers as he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, arrive at Rangoon International Airport in Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • Crowd cheers as US President Barack Obama arrives at opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • A man holds a sign reading: "Help to bring peace" as people line the street to see U.S. President Barack Obama in Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama speaks to reporters as he tours Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid